It's okay not to feel too much like playing videogames right now. There is some pretty serious activity in the real world that probably deserves our attention, anyhow. We find ourselves lingering over the news just a little longer before we hit the remote's Input button and switch the picture over to our console. CNN.com gets just as many refreshes as GamersWithJobs.com. And there's a pretty good chance that you might not even feel like playing a game at all! It's shocking I know, but I'm willing to take a stand here and say it's perfectly okay.
Many of us play games to get a brief respite from the repetitive, predictable nature of our work week. There is something innately satisfying about pushing it all out of the way for a few minutes (hours) and dip into a game. Sometimes we escape into a different world with a deep and detailed RPG, whether it be Norrath or whatever land we happen to be visiting in one of the Final Fantasy games, or even some RTS fun in the Warcraft universe (also known as the Warhammer universe). Other times we opt for our same world, just a little more exciting, such as our forays into Grand Theft Auto or whatever your favorite racing or sports game might be. And there are the war games that tend to combine both the reality and surreality of armed conflict taking us, perhaps, into a new world within our own. Now our daily grind, itself, is being injected with a large dose of unpredictability, and it may just change our gaming habits.
Suddenly international politics and current affairs have climbed my interest list higher than they've been in years. I find myself initiating conversations about topics I normally have to force myself to pay attention to. Unfortunately, my hobbies are going to have to bear the burden of this for a while. I'm on the computer very little after work. I find myself drawing less. I don't even know what new movies are coming out. They just aren't as compelling to me as watching the reactions of the world to every little rumor or development.
I watched a similar struggle after September 11 (will we ever have to say the year?) with one of my other favorite sources of entertainment, comics. September 12 was a very unfunny day in the world of daily comics. In fact, it wasn't for another couple weeks before writers and artists could bring themselves to make fun of life again. Many of you probably saw PowerPoint slide shows or web pages that collected some of the political cartoons around the world. It was difficult to focus on somewhat selfish entertainment when humanity, itself, demanded attention. I sort of feel the same way about gaming right now. Sure I'll be keeping one eye on the gaming news, but my attention will be seriously divided.
I'm pretty sure we've seen evidence that the same might be happening to you guys. We watched our Everything Else forum blow up with political posts so much that we pushed the conversation out into its own forum. You were clogging up the forum we rely upon for important discussions regarding reality TV and gossip! If you turn up your speakers while inside the game forum, you can actually hear crickets...evil crickets. I've watched it on other game sites as well. Game debates seem half-hearted at best. Where have all the fanboys gone? I'm sure they're the same place we all are, milling around the water cooler engaged in wartime scuttlebutt. Curiosity, patriotism, and reflection on our own beliefs are the emotions du jour.
So stop feeling guilty or forcing yourself to pre-order games you don't feel like playing. Our souls are distracted and we hold our breath to see what happens next. How many pages in the history books of the future are about to be filled? Is this about to be a chapter or merely a footnote? I suppose we'll know soon enough. But for now, it's Sway-okay to jam your XBox back under the entertainment center. You're not going to hurt Sam Fisher's feelings. Your games will be fine. They, and we here at GWJ, will be waiting for you when the passion returns.